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Old 05-17-2014, 01:32 PM   #1
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Radio not working when ignition off

The owner's manual says that the radio is supposed to work with the house batteries when the vehicle isn't running. Mine doesn't do this.

The previous owner appears to have installed an aftermarket radio, so I assume that's the problem, but does anyone know exactly how this is wired and how I might go about fixing it? (I've installed car stereos etc before so I'm generally familiar with things overall, but I don't know how the IS is wired)
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Old 05-17-2014, 01:39 PM   #2
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Hi from AZ. . . The replacement radio got hooked up to wrong power wire. Just find power wire that is hot all the time, not switched thru ignition. Most car stereo guys do that so that it doesn't kill the car battery. Should work with proper wire hooked up. Regards, Craig
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Old 05-17-2014, 02:18 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by ChromeNomad View Post
The owner's manual says that the radio is supposed to work with the house batteries when the vehicle isn't running. Mine doesn't do this.

The previous owner appears to have installed an aftermarket radio, so I assume that's the problem, but does anyone know exactly how this is wired and how I might go about fixing it? (I've installed car stereos etc before so I'm generally familiar with things overall, but I don't know how the IS is wired)
My 2013 Interstate is wired so that you can power radio either way. When the house battery disconnect switch is on the radio is constantly powered by the house batteries. When that switch is off the Sprinter battery powers radio only when key is turned on like a factory radio.

The PO may not have hooked it up correctly, but there may be a relay involved. Since we don't get any wiring information from Airstream determining your issue will be a guessing game unless you take it to an Airstream dealer that services Interstates.
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Old 05-17-2014, 03:17 PM   #4
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One way to do that would be to install a single pole single through realy, very common auto relay.

Wire 85 and 87 to the truck ignition, 30 to the radio, 86 to ground, and 87A to the coach battery.

When the ignition is on the relay will pull in and truck battery will power the radio.

When the truck is off the coach battery will power the radio.

If you just wire the 2 power sources together the batteries will fight one another if not equally charged. A likely condition.

That relay may already be in the truck and the coach battery was not connected to terminal 87A.

You all ready have ground, ignition, and the radio feed at the radio. Look for another hot wire in that area that comes off the coach battery and yo are good to go.
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Old 05-17-2014, 04:24 PM   #5
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I don't know if my original Kenwood DNX7160 ever worked off the house batteries; some vile miscreant stole it the same night I bought my Interstate.

When the insurance paid for a replacement, the installer (a professional automotive audio installer subcontracted to the Airstream dealer who fixed the dashboard damage) put in a DNX7180. But that DNX7180 has never worked off the house batteries under any condition. When the ignition is off, the radio is off. Period.

I never worried about it, because that's just the way it has always been, and I'm used to it. When I want AM/FM/CD/iPod while camping I just bring a portable and that's good enough for me.
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Old 05-18-2014, 09:54 AM   #6
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Thanks all. I'll pull the radio out and look for the relay.
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Old 05-19-2014, 04:45 AM   #7
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Not sure you're going to find the relay behind the radio. Most everything is located under the drivers seat. I replaced the factory Sound 20 with an aftermarket unit and there is no constant power lead behind the dash so I had to bring one up from the accessory bus under the seat. You could also tap the lower power outlet which is always hot.

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Old 05-19-2014, 08:17 PM   #8
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I replaced the factory Sound 20 with an aftermarket unit . . .

Ben
What radio did you go with?
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Old 05-20-2014, 04:58 AM   #9
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I installed a JVC head unit that has navigation. I considered doing a tablet but the need for a amplifier, GPS source plus a custom bezel was just more work than I had time for. I'm thinking of upgrading to one of the newer units that have screen mirroring so it can essentially function as a tablet.
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Old 05-24-2014, 12:34 PM   #10
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Not sure you're going to find the relay behind the radio. Most everything is located under the drivers seat. I replaced the factory Sound 20 with an aftermarket unit and there is no constant power lead behind the dash so I had to bring one up from the accessory bus under the seat. You could also tap the lower power outlet which is always hot.
But presumably the factory radio was wired correctly, so unless someone shoved the wire to an impossible place, it should be in there somewhere, no?

The power outlet runs off the starter battery though, right? I want to pull from the house battery..
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Old 05-25-2014, 05:24 AM   #11
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Since you have a '09, it was most likely came with the Sound 20 which does not work like an aftermarket head unit. There is no house battery wiring behind the dash, however there is house power leads above the drivers seat you can use. Pull the button caps and unscrew the headliner and you'll see the AS wiring loom that has the lead you're looking for.
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Old 04-12-2016, 08:11 AM   #12
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Rather than hatching a new thread, I'm backfilling this one, as it is close enough to the subject of my advisory below.

Please note that your Interstate radio may not be wired the way you expect it to be, AND, you could imperil your chassis battery (I think) if you are not fully apprised of the associated potential failure pathways. Let me explain.

The Sprinter cab radio in our T1N Interstate has the following two separate "engine-off" operational pathways, and they are so consistent that I think it might have been a roaringly-stupid but intended part of MB's original design, rather than a wiring flaw:

(1) If the radio is on when the ignition key is turned off and the key is promptly removed, the radio turns off within three seconds.

(2) If the radio is on when the ignition key is turned off and the key is left in the ignition for a short period of time prior to removal, the radio continues playing indefinitely whether the key is removed or not.

After researching the issue on MB-related threads both foreign and domestic, the tentative conclusion I reached is that this odd behavior is largely independent of the model of radio, and more the result of the way MB engineered the system. Reportedly (per posters), the radio was designed as an "always on" component (much like the 12 V dash outlets) and it's the computer's job to tell the radio to turn off when the engine is shut down (also reportedly, FWIW, this behavior is found across a range of MB models, not just the Sprinter). Except if you leave the key in for an initial period, the computer interprets that you want to continue listening to the radio even if the key is then removed (as one thread poster suggested, perhaps you are camping with children and you don't want them to accidentally start the vehicle so you need to remove the key, but you do want the radio to continue).

The upshot of this is that you run the risk of accidentally killing what I THINK is the chassis battery if you unwittingly leave the key in the ignition too long. There's discussion in this thread above as to whether the power feed switches over to the house battery when the engine is off, but with the T1N, I'm not holding my breath. MB didn't put that second battery in - Airstream did. And with everything else Airstream neglected to do with the T1N, I would be surprised if they took the time to wire it up like that.

My most likely failure pathway is as follows: I'm listening to the radio, I don't like a particular song, I turn down the volume just for that one song, but then I forget to turn it back up again. I stop the Interstate, leave the key in too long as I'm fumbling with my sunglasses or removing my disposable plastic eating-burritos-on-the-road-again apron (which works fabulously BTW), and then I walk away not knowing that the radio is still powered because the volume was turned down earlier. Been there, done that - this past Sunday afternoon most recently.

Initially I thought this might be a T1N quirk, but there are reports of NCV3 radios also refusing to turn off. It's hard to know from threads which reports represent isolated wiring failures and which are systemic. But there it is, FWIW. My advice is to examine your radio set-up carefully, and run it through its paces, to make sure that you don't accidentally failure-pathway yourself into a dead battery, either house or chassis.
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Old 04-12-2016, 08:43 AM   #13
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(1) If the radio is on when the ignition key is turned off and the key is promptly removed, the radio turns off within three seconds.

(2) If the radio is on when the ignition key is turned off and the key is left in the ignition for a short period of time prior to removal, the radio continues playing indefinitely whether the key is removed or not.
I've never been able to play the radio while camping, though up until now I thought I was a minority of one in that regard.

Next time I'll have to try leaving the key in the ignition after shutting off the engine and see if that really works on my NCV3. If so, then I can join the majority and quit carrying around a separate radio for when I'm camping.
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Old 04-12-2016, 09:18 AM   #14
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I've never been able to play the radio while camping, though up until now I thought I was a minority of one in that regard.

Next time I'll have to try leaving the key in the ignition after shutting off the engine and see if that really works on my NCV3. If so, then I can join the majority and quit carrying around a separate radio for when I'm camping.

Assuming your radio was originally wired to the house batteries like my 2013 model, that wire should still be back there. It is relatively easy to pull the radio out.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f240...rs-126668.html

I would be looking for a wire that is not connected to anything. Put a volt meter on that wire to see if it has voltage with the house batteries on. Turn off the house batteries and see if the voltage goes back to zero. At that point all you have to do is switch the power wire on the back of the radio. The wiring diagram should be in the radio owner's manual.
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